Chinese ecommerce titan made a record-breaking $29.2bn (£23.2bn) in sales during its annual 6.18 shopping festival, bolstered by orders from smaller cities.

The online retailer’s sales transaction volume soared 18% year on year during its annual 18-day shopping festival, which culminates on June 18, driven by sales of new products and higher-end items.

Transaction volume growth in lower-tier cities drove sales on the platform and was twice as high as the overall growth registered on, as new users from secondary and tertiary locations flocked to the website.

The etail giant fulfilled 91% of orders made during the festival on the same or next day, while its smart customer service robot answered 90% of the 32 million queries put to it independently during the period.’s new big data-fuelled initiative called Consumer to Manufacturer, which the retailer said hinges on “providing insights to brands to adjust their manufacturing and marketing approaches with the goal of providing consumers with products they want before they even know they want them”, was a key driver of sales during 6.18.

Transaction volume on new product lines and Consumer to Manufacturer products nearly tripled year on year.